We have been following the effort by countries like Iran and China to block access to particular sites viewed as anti-Islamic or anti-social. However, I have heard from a couple U.S. government employees that, since the Snowden disclosures, their agencies have blocked access to the Guardian website. When they try to get on to the site at the Energy Department for example it is simply blocked. I am trying to get answers from the Administration but wanted to ask some of our regulars for help on these reports.
This is a pretty large blog with a lot of government workers who check in on a daily basis. We would love to know (confidentially) if you are also blocked in gaining access to The Guardian. I have heard from readers at the Library of Congress and DHS who say it is not blocked. One reader said that he thought it might be a filter on sites that have live feeds or other security issues.
We have been discussing how U.S. mainstream media has yielded to pressure from the Administration to call Snowden a “leaker” rather than a “whistleblower” as well as CNN and MSNBC media figures who have been mocking Snowden or vilifying him. Moreover, Americans have been complaining that they are getting more information on Snowden from the foreign media, particularly in his status as a whistleblower. Foreign media outlets, particularly the Guardian, have filled the void with additional stories on massive warrantless programs.
Blocking the Guardian, if true, would be a particularly ham-handed effort like changing his Wikipedia page. However, with the public still largely viewing Snowden in a positive light and fearing their own government more than terrorists, the government (including Congress) appears increasingly desperate.
For any of our government regulars, let us know if you are blocked from viewing the Guardian. You can email directly at the law school.